10 day trips from Tokyo – By now, you’re probably inundated with information about traveling in Japan. By now, you would have looked at the main attractions for popular cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, etc, but you’re probably craving that tiny slice of off-the-beaten-path goodness that only day trips can provide.
Sometimes, you want to travel a bit further away to get away from the crowds and explore the side of a destination not commonly posted, written, or spoken about. And we applaud you, because there is no more deserving a country than Japan when it comes to incredible side trips that should be receiving more love.
If you were really pressed for time, you can probably fit in two of these day trips into the one day, but it’ll be one heck of an itinerary, that’s for sure. We’ve made sure that we’ve curated a list that’s both exciting and varied, so there’s something here for everyone.
The beautiful port city of Yokohama, only 30-minutes away by train from Tokyo, is often overlooked by tourists, although we’re not sure why – it’s stunning, it’s huge, it’s got everything. As one of the busiest ports in Japan right now, it’s a bustling city that’s always happening. It’s a foodie’s paradise, a shopper-holic’s dream, it’s family-friendly but also romantic, and you best believe you’d need an entire day to do it properly!
Some of the major attractions in Yokohama include the Cup Noodles Museum, where you can learn about the history of instant ramen, visit an exhibition that displays a timeline of instant noodles created from around the world, visit the Noodles Bazaar which sells noodles from around the world across various different stalls, and even create your own instant ramen package which you can take home as a souvenir; there’s the Yokohama Chinatown which is the largest one across the entire country of Japan, where you can shop for Asian groceries, try the best nikku-man in Yokohama, enjoy an all-you-can-eat Yum Cha, and even get a foot massage, and of course, Red Brick Warehouse, a unique shopping experience where you’re literally inside a brick warehouse shopping at boutique stores and cafes.
2. Kamakura (My Favourite Day Trip From Tokyo)
As one of the more popular coastal towns near Tokyo (literally less than an hour away), Kamakura receives quite a few visitors on the daily. Whilst it has quite a rich political history, what makes it so attractive now is the collection of numerous religious and historical monuments that still stand today, as well as the beaches and hiking trails during the warmer months.
All activities in Kamakura are easy to get to and easy to do, and the food is also fantastic, so it’s not hard to see why it is one of the top side trips to do whilst in Tokyo.
Arguably the most popular attraction in Kamakura is the Great Buddha, a massive bronze statue of Amida Buddha, which is located at Kotokuin Temple. Surrounded by forest and greenery, it’s quite a picturesque photo opportunity.
There are also various attractive temples that you can visit, each offering a slight glimpse into the history of Japan, such as the Hokokuji Temple, Hasedera Temple, and the Kenchoji Temple.
If you have more time, take a train to Enoshima Island and spend the day exploring the various attractions.
If you’re an outdoor buff, you can also go hiking in the forest and woods surrounded Kamakura, with various trails ranging from 30-minutes to 90-minutes.
If you’re keen to read more about Kamakura, head here for our in depth article: Kamakura Japan.
Hailed as the ultimate destination for those seeking an escape to nature from Tokyo, complete with a stunning collection of onsens to choose from, Hakone is an absolute must if you’re after a change of scenery that will relax and excite you at the same time. Whilst many tourists tend to head here for the weekend or at least overnight, it is entirely possible to explore Hakone as a day trip. It’s an easy train ride away from Tokyo, and there are various activities which are located close by so you don’t need to jam-pack your itinerary with much traveling.
If you are visiting for one day only, we recommend choosing from the many onsens located nearby Hakone-Yumoto station, including Tenzan, Hakone Kamon, or Yunosato Okada, all of which offer various baths to choose from and pretty views to relax to.
One place that has been increasingly popular today due to its blow-up on social media is Hakone Shrine located at Lake Ashinoko (‘Lake Ashi’), with its shrine overlooking the stunning lake and mountains in the background. Spend a few hours at the Hakone Open Air Museum, where you’ll find various interesting installations sprawled across the grounds and a small collection of Picasso’s inside the museum itself.
For more details on what to do in Hakone, check out this link here: Hakone Japan.
Even if you are speaking about day trips here, you should also consider stay one night in Hakone, specially for they beautiful Japanese traditional inns (Ryokan) featuring amazing Onsen (hot springs). For more info, check out our selection of the best Ryokan in Hakone.
Kichijoji has increasingly become one of the most desired places to live in Tokyo in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s home to the superbly located Inokashira Park, a popular park for relaxation, recreation and festivals, and is also strategically close to Shibuya and Shinjuku, without the hustle and bustle and large tourist crowds.
A first trip to Kichijoji isn’t complete if you don’t head to Inokashira Park and hop on one of the rental rowboats or swan boats for a ride around the lake. However, before you do that, fuel up at one of the funky hipster cafes selling some of the best coffees in Tokyo – you can find many of them sprinkled near the station.
If you’re into a bit of vintage, head to Nakamichi-dori, a snazzy line of shops where you can find a unique collection of miscellaneous new, old, recycled, hand-made, and branded items across the various stores. Stick around for dinner and head to Harmonica Yokocho, a small collection of alleys similar to Golden Gai in Shinjuku where small standing bars will open as the sun sets and the smell of beer and yakitori being grilled will fill the air soon after.
5. Mount Takao
For those who want a short trip to escape the metropolitan cityscape, Mount Takao is the perfect option for you. The main reason why anyone would visit this mountain is to either hike or take a cable car to the top for its stunning views, as well as visit the temples, experience the onsen, and enjoy the scenery during spring and autumn in Japan.
If you’re in Japan during the cherry blossom season or the foilage season (generally from mid-end of September until early November), a visit to Mount Takao might be pleasantly surprising, as it experiences quite an influx of blossoms and foilage. During these seasons though, you’ll be competing at picturesque areas with crowds, as locals as well as other tourists will most likely have the same idea.
There are up to 8 different hiking trails that go on Mount Takao, however, trail #1 is the most popular as it’s the most paved and takes you along all the popular attractions along the way. For those with big appetites, once you reach the summit (you can take the cable car up to this area if you’d like), you can head to the Takao-San Beer Mount, the highest beer garden in Tokyo which offers an unlimited food and drinks buffet, with a variety of Western, Chinese and Japanese dishes to choose from.
To learn more about what you can do at Mount Takao, have a read here: Mount Takao Tokyo.
6. Fuji-Q Highland
This one’s for the adrenalin junkies: just under two hours away from Tokyo lays a roller coaster adventure park fit for only the bravest of souls…or anyone who really enjoys G-force! If you’re the type to find unmatched thrill in plummeting head-first at extremely high speeds towards the ground, then a visit to Fuji-Q Highlands should be a priority on your to-do list whilst visiting Tokyo.
Whilst some might balk at the idea of spending an entire day of their visit to Japan at an amusement park, others might say that’s not enough time to get the most out of Japan’s, and possibly the world’s, best roller coaster theme park. If you’re after a discounted fare, check out this link: Fuji-Q Highland Tickets.
There are so many rides to try and fit in, in the day. Whilst theoretically you should be able to ride them all within one day, in reality you’ll be waiting in line for more than half the time, so be prepared for that.
Some of the more popular rides include ‘Dodonpa’, which has been named one of the fastest roller coasters in the world at a stage, ‘Fujiyama’, a fun and thrilling ride with lots of twists and turns, and ‘Eejanaika’, a roller coaster that’s been described as so exhilarating it’s almost like an out of body experience. There are also other experiences as well, such as the haunted hospital, the rafting ride, and various other less physically taxing rides.
To make the most of your day, we recommend taking the earliest train out of Shinjuku, eat breakfast on the way there, and head straight for ‘Dondonpa’, as it’s usually the most popular ride throughout the day.
Book your ticket here for a discount on the entrance fee: Fuji-Q Highland Tickets.
Easily one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo during all times of the year, Kawaguchiko offers a breath of fresh air to its visitors from Tokyo. Encompassed by the famous Fuji Five Lakes, with Lake Kawaguchiko being the largest of them all, people come from all over to experience the abundance of nature you can see, breathe, and feel in the air here.
Most importantly, they come to Kawaguchiko as it’s tipped as one of the best places to catch a glimpse of the famous Mount Fuji. This monstrous mountain, the backdrop of many landscape photographs depicting Japan, is so enormous, it’s visible from all angles around Kawaguchiko, but Fuji Five Lakes provide the most picturesque opportunities for photos.
Aside from photo opportunities of Mount Fuji, there are plenty of activities around Kawaguchiko to do, including various flower viewing festivals throughout the year (including the Fuji Shibazakura Festival during April-May, and the lavender festival in June-July), various museums to explore, and activities such as cycling and hiking and/or walking trails.
Learn more about the activities around Kawaguchiko here: Kawaguchiko Japan.
Kawagoe, affectionately referred to as “Little Edo” due to its striking resemblance to an old Japanese town during the Edo period (assisted by the clay-walled buildings and small streets), is a mere 30-minutes away from Tokyo city centre, but is worlds apart when it comes to ambience and attractions. Here, the main attraction is the Kitain Temple, a structure that’s said to be one of the only remaining buildings of the Edo Castle.
You’ll also be able to witness 540 stone statues of the disciples of Buddha, which you’ll be able to walk amongst. Meander along the famous Kurazukuri Street to experience olden day Japan, and stop into the little Candy Street nearby to sample and purchase some traditional Japanese sweets and cakes – we recommend the ‘senbei’ rice crackers, ‘karinto’ sugar-coated fried cookies’, and any cakes filled with red bean and sweet potatoes.
To find out more about Kawagoe’s must dos, read on here: What to do in Kawagoe.
Nikko, located just two hours away by train, is a small town encompassing a smattering of UNESCO World Heritage Sites worth visiting. It also offers a stunning natural landscape scenery, from forests to mountains, lakes and waterfalls. It’s often tipped as one of the most naturally rewarding day trips from Tokyo, however, many tourists have also suggested that an overnight trip is just as, if not more, memorable.
Of course, even if you plan to just spend one day there, you’ll still be able to make the most of your time, as most things are within traveling distance to one another, and there are several transport methods you can choose from.
Some of the more popular attractions in Nikko include the Toshogu shrine, a stunningly detailed building with multiple sections that dates all the way back to the 1600s, Shinkyo Bridge, which is an iconic red bridge that crosses the gorgeous azure blue Daiya-gawa river, and Lake Chuzenji, a beautiful peaceful body of water that’s encompassed by various different attractions as well as festivals throughout the year.
If you’re keen to read more about a day trip to Nikko, have a read here: Nikko Japan Travel Guide.
Like Hakone, Nikko offers amazing ryokan, especially in Kinugawa Onsen, which is a small onsen town nearby. If you have time, feel free to spend one night in one of these amazing places : Ryokan Nikko.
10. Tokyo Disneyland
A trip to Tokyo Disneyland is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give to yourself. It goes without saying that when it comes to entertainment, the Japanese go all in, and Disneyland in Tokyo is no exception. From the rides to the characters in costume, to the entertainment throughout the day to the food, everything is utter perfection there. You may be confused as to whether to go to Disneyland or Disneysea, but if you want our advice, go to both – it’s worth it.
Whilst the majority of the rides may seem kiddish and not as enjoyable for those in their late 20s or above, we beg to differ. There are roller-coasters and spaceship rides that will have you laughing and screaming from take-off until the end, and who doesn’t love a stunning parade that takes you back to when you were a small child, rewinding tapes of all the Disney Princess stories and wishing you could grow up to be a prince, a princess, a queen, a frog, a fairy god-mother, whatever it was that you loved the most?
If you’re planning to dedicate a day to Tokyo Disneyland, we highly recommend booking tickets here. You’ll receive a discount, confirmation is instant, and pick-up of tickets is super easy.
We hope you enjoyed our article on the top 10 day trips from Tokyo, and that you’ve taken some advice under your wing and added some of these day trips to your itinerary! We know it’s super hard to create the perfect Japan itinerary, especially for a culturally-rich country like Japan, and so we advise that you simply accept the fact that you’ll probably be back a second or third time, and squeeze in all of these day trips over the next few years!